James C. “Jimmy” Leech, born in Lexington, Virginia became Virginia Military Institute’s first bona-fide All-American football player. He entered VMI in the fall of 1916 and graduated in 1920 scoring an unbelievable 210 points that year, while leading VMI to an undefeated year with wins over such powers as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Virginia Tech, N.C. State and Catholic University. VMI scored a total of 431 points against their opponents’ 20.
Jimmy’s greatest fame came from his ability as a triple threat back. He was a fine passer, spot-punter and place-kicker, but was an exceptional defensive back, a sure tackler, a good blocker and fine runner.
Jimmy was also an outstanding basketball and baseball player at VMI. After baseball practice, Leech would be found taking on VMI’s best sprinters and low hurdlers for short dashes. He played good tennis, was an excellent swimmer and shot golf in the 70’s.
Jimmy Leech is a member of the National College Football Hall of Fame. He died on August 18, 1951 in Milford, Connecticut, where he had been most successful in the insurance business for many years.